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INTRODUCTION: The World Health Organisation endorses community-based programmes as a cost-effective, feasible and a 'best buy' in the prevention and management of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). These programmes are particularly successful when the community actively participates in its design, implementation and evaluation. However, they may be only useful insofar as they can be scaled up and sustained in some meaningful way. Social network research may serve as an important tool for determining the underlying mechanisms that contribute to this process. The aim of this planned scoping review is to map and collate literature on the role of social networks in scaling-up and sustaining community-based physical activity and diet programmes in low-income and middle-income countries. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: This scoping review protocol has been planned around the Arksey and O'Malley framework and its enhancement. Inclusion criteria are peer-reviewed articles and grey literature exploring the role of social networks in the scale-up and/or sustainability of NCD prevention community-based programmes in adult populations. Studies must have been published since 2000, in English, and be based in a low-income or middle-income country. The following databases will be used for this review: PubMed, Cochrane, Scopus, Web of Science, CINAHL, SocIndex, the International Bibliography of the Social Sciences, Google and Google Scholar. Books, conference abstracts and research focused only on children will be excluded. Two reviewers will independently select and extract eligible studies. Included publications will be thematically analysed using the Framework Approach. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval will not be sought for this review as no individual-level data or human participants will be involved. This protocol is registered on the Open Science Framework ( The findings from the review will be published in an accredited journal. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses extension for Scoping Reviews checklist will be used to support transparency and guide translation of the review.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Open

Publication Date





public health, qualitative research, quality in health care, Adult, Child, Developing Countries, Diet, Exercise, Humans, Poverty, Review Literature as Topic, Social Networking, Systematic Reviews as Topic